Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Lies We Tell Ourselves

This post started out as a response to QueryFairy's comment on last week's post Publishing Subjectivity the Retail Way.  But then I read Neil Gaiman's blog, which led to his fiancee Amanda Palmer's blog, which led to . . .

Well, I'm not sure what.

Originally, I wanted to say to QueryFairy and to other writers not to sell yourself by doing art that makes you uncomfortable.  QueryFairy is a friend who writes erotica for a particular publisher.  The thing is she's fabulous at erotica, but writing erotica makes her uncomfortable with herself, which makes me sad.

Then Neil commented in an interview how Amanda was censoring herself (my words, not his) because of their different concepts of privacy, and it made him a little sad that she felt she needed to change.  Amanda answered in her blog about how different it was pre-Neil because her boyfriend was some anonymous person as far as the blogosphere was concerned, and she could say things and only she would suffer the ramifications.

Which takes me back to QueryFairy.  She wants a writing career and can make money writing erotica.  But she still wants to protect her family by not revealing this aspect of herself.  Amanda also curtails her writing in order to protect her fiance.

Here's the paradox.  True art means exposing ourselves to the world.  So what happens when we write (or draw or paint or play) something that makes us not truly ourselves?

Life's too fucking short doing crap that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable or something you're not.  I almost died learning that lesson the hard way, and I turned to writing in order to preserve my identity and sanity.  This does not mean I'm advocating that you expose your loved ones to something potentially dangerous or damaging.  But it's a very thin line.

Anybody out there have tips on staying on that tightrope?

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